The Perfect Storm: The Political Economy of the Fischler Reforms of the Common Agricultural Policy

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Johan F.M. Swinnen
29 September 2008
184

For decades, the Common Agricultural Policy came in for a significant amount of criticism for consuming a disproportionate share of the EU budget, introducing market distortions, wasting government funds and contributing to rural inequities. Nevertheless, it survived many attempts to abolish it, and acquired a reputation for being virtually impossible to reform in any meaningful way. However, during the tenure of Franz Fischler as European Commissioner for Agriculture from 1995 to 2004, the most radical reform in the history of the CAP was implemented.
This book is the first to review the reforms that were implemented, to analyse how they came about and to explain which forces made them possible. It brings together perspectives from inside and outside the policy community, including from those closely involved in the policy debates, and an interdisciplinary perspective from economists and political scientists. The authors are senior policy-makers and well-respected academics. The book gives some fascinating insights into what made the reforms possible, offers useful conclusions on what this implies for future attempts at reform and finally, addresses the question of whether the Fischler reforms ‘scrapped the CAP’ or saved it.